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Art unites therapy, talents

Published: Saturday, May 24, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT
Jim Lane, Belinda Bailey, Mary Lane, Connie Strenge, Kathy Siperley, Robin Brown, Mike McCoy, Connie Thimmesch, and Barb Heckman display their Bridge to Art work at Home of Hope in Dixon. Photo submitted by Joan Padilla.

DIXON – When Home of Hope presented the challenge of creating an art therapy class for their cancer survivor groups, Bridge of Art was very excited about the opportunity to work with yet another group of local citizens who could benefit from our newly-created public art project.

The participants were bound together through cancer, so we designed our project based on the iconic symbol of the cancer ribbon. The concept being that the group’s members would paint and decorate a cardboard ribbon that eventually would hang from a cardboard tree in a large display window in Sterling. The design of each ribbon was to reflect the creator’s personal experience with cancer.

The results of this project could not have been more positive or more gratifying. The ribbons that were created are amazing. The memorial ribbons are clearly heartfelt and very touching. The classes were relaxing and fun, and the final installation is artistically pleasing. This project also serves to acknowledge the good work of Home of Hope, and educates the public on the significance of the color of cancer awareness ribbons.

Bridge of Art benefits from the exposure, and our personal lives are enriched by encouraging and helping others to create something of value. We are witness to the power of creativity and its importance in the healing process.

We are all rewarded with an attractive, stimulating, and educational public art display, that simultaneously helps to uplift the culture of our community.

As Bridge of Art has experienced many times, giving community member groups the opportunity to express themselves through art and creativity is tremendously positive. Our expectations are often exceeded to a degree we could never imagine, and we never fail to be impressed with the wealth of talent in our community and the superior level of results achieved.

The the actual process of creating has great therapeutic value to cancer survivors, at-risk youth, and, quite honestly, everyone. The practice of art making is good for all brains at all ages. It has been proven more valuable than playing cards or doing crossword puzzles. Recently PBS aired an excellent documentary, “Arts and the Mind,” which explains this phenomenon very well.

This program is available online and should be seen by anyone interested in keeping their brain working well throughout the aging process.

Bridge of Art is a community arts initiative that promotes the value of local art and artists along with adding beauty to community locations. For more information, call 815-625-0526.

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